Feds form one-stop info shopping organization

OTTAWA — A joint project between the National Library of Canada and the National Archive of Canada is spearheading a change in the government’s attitude towards information management.

The two organizations came together last fall, and responsibilities and resources are now being juggled

between the two in order to accommodate the management of government information policy.

Paul McCormick, director general, strategic planning and policy, National Library, said at the recent Managing Government Information Conference that the combination of the two organizations’ resources has resulted in a “”new super-knowledge institution.”” The goal of the merger will be to create one single database that will champion the development of “”one-stop shopping for information on, or about, Canada,”” he added.

The amount of information that the Archive and National Library has to deal with is vast: 26 million bibliographic references, 1.6 million publications varying from print to video and more than 9,000 electronic titles.

Julia Ginley, director, government IM infrastructure initiative, National Library and Archive, said she doesn’t think the government has done a very good job at implementing the new policy up to this point. She said the amount of paper backlog within the National Library and Archive is hampering IM development.

The National Library and the Archive, which now make up the largest institution of information in Canada, will be developing products and services to facilitate the management of records and information through their lifecycle.

Both presenters indicated there will be a few roadblocks in the process of developing fluent and accessible information.

“”We have been collecting electronic information since 1995,”” explained McCormick.

“”One of our biggest issues is that of access. We have some publishers who want restrictions placed on material while at the same time we have access to information issues.””

There are also obstacles dealing with issues such as information format.

“”We are concerned with our present technical solutions in dealing with older electronic files,”” said Ginley. “”As technology advances we have to make sure our older files remain viable.””

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